Small and midsize enterprises or SMEs outnumber more giant conglomerates and shape innovation for our digitally driven world. In recent years SMEs realise the benefits of obtaining an eCommerce strategy to help improve profits.
Businesses have long been customer-focused, but eCommerce is not only an easy and affordable method for advertising. It can also effectively retain a loyal customer base which ultimately increases sales.
Reaching revenue potential is a long-term goal for SMEs, and developing and maintaining eCommerce will help achieve brand visibility and increased customer satisfaction, making sales boom. In addition, ECommerce has seen a massive uptick in consumers moving to reliance on a digital platform.
Setting up an eCommerce store online is not enough; business owners must actively engage in marketing to generate new sales. Here are some helpful ways businesses can turn their eCommerce into a powerful sales machine while online sales continue to build.
Optimise growth organically
If your SME does not have the budget to expand upon supply chains or logistical networking, you can still grow through optimisation. For example, since the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have adapted an eCommerce platform, where several markets followed to position and handled more eCommerce purchases.
Having an online eCommerce setup allows your business to easily track orders and customers, where you can set up a simple affiliate program to promote your products and services more organically. If you do some prospecting and engagement across social media channels, you can also grow your visibility. Utilising affiliate tracking tools also allows your customers to recommend you within their own networks, further expanding your outreach.
Create consistency across channels
If your business has a brick-and-mortar and an online store, there needs to be consistency across both places. Customers want an exceptional experience online and in-store, so your job is to bridge the gap for success.
SME owners should ensure that customers are treated the same, and a critical aspect of this is to sync your online and offline inventory. Take, for example, the thrilling new "buy now, pick up in-store" feature that businesses can offer.
The concept of buy now and pick up creates a vital element for SMEs to ensure that items listed on the eCommerce website are still available. If the logistics are not in sync, you end up with an upset and unsatisfied customer, more likely to damage your reputation with a bad review.
Online navigation and checkout process
With customers gravitating towards the online experience, part of your strategy should include your website development. A study by the Baymard Institute shows that almost 70% of online shoppers will visit a website, choose products and then leave without completing their purchase.
The biggest reason that consumers do this is that the checkout process or navigation on the website becomes too confusing or complicated. For example, checking out might take too long, or the website might have too many click-throughs to keep things simple. Instead, SME owners should design a seamless shopping experience on their online store to create a quick and efficient checkout, provide customers with cost savings for shipping, and easy-to-use navigation.
Locate and eliminate barriers or things that might turn off your consumers, such as putting in all of their information - utilising 3rd party payment options such a Paypal or ShopPay. You can also find ways to reduce the number of screens that customers have to click through. Another consideration is to make the online experience mobile-friendly so that consumers can easily shop from their phones rather than require a laptop or desktop.
Another aspect to consider with the checkout experience is upselling or cross-selling. You can show clearance items to help customers save money, or if you want to upsell, a higher-end product or service related to what they are about to purchase. Either way, your customer will pay attention to be getting a good deal or higher quality.
Showcase products through social media
Marketing is an essential tool for building your eCommerce and increasing sales. Showcasing your products and services efficiently will help because consumers can find something valuable to believe in when they purchase. They want to see more than just a picture and description, and you need to tell a story.
Besides building out your email list, marketing through social media is an excellent way for SMEs to better communicate and engage with those prospective customers. Also, your business needs to be budgeting for SEO so that your website, feeds, and social media channels pop up on the top of the search bar. Proper SEO utilisation is a crucial step to grab your customer's attention.
Once you have gotten their attention, providing them with the story to demonstrate the product or service's value will gain their trust and loyalty as a customer. From this point, you have won them over, and have a customer for life, so that showcasing has to be at optimum level to show your customer that they need this product or service and won't wait to buy.
Automate your fulfilment process
So, you managed to drive customers to your site through sophisticated marketing campaigns and a strong social media presence, designed an exceptional shopping experience that directs buyers seamlessly to your checkout page, and have an omnichannel strategy in place that connects all your sales points into a seamless shopping experience.
The next big step to consider is your e-commerce shipping process. Shipping can be indeed as complex as it is mission-critical to online retailers. And if you don't do it the right way, shipping can be an extremely time-consuming daily task.
I am confident that you would prefer to spend that time developing other aspects of your business rather than on fulfilment. Also, getting your products to your customers as soon as possible will strengthen your brand loyalty, turn one-time shoppers into loyal customers, and boost sales. Achieving shorter delivery times to consumers and reducing shipping costs is paramount for SME’s success.
Shiptheory connects your online store with more than 40 of the world's best international, regional, and local carriers, like USPS, UPS, DHL, Royal Mail, FedEx, and more, to automate shipping labels, manifests, customs documentation, and tracking.
That way, it will enable a more efficient shipping process for your online orders and save you money and time while eliminating manual data-entry errors.
Adopting and cultivating an eCommerce division within your business to sell directly to customers will be more effective with organised channels to ensure proper inventory, optimisation, an improved website, a solid social media presence, and a streamlined fulfilment process. Remember that it is crucial to first and foremost have clarity on your target audience to strategise to gain their loyalty as a customer properly.
When you add each of these features into your eCommerce strategy and business model, you will see more customers flock to your store, and sales will increase exponentially.
Author: Donna Maurer
As an experienced content creator, Donna has covered numerous topics in the realms of health, beauty, lifestyle, and the arts. She has written for various publications and can often be found conducting research for her latest article. Donna spends her free time exploring New York City, where her days are filled with new life experiences and adventures to write about!